December 2018 Issue

Editor's Spot: Build Your Brand in 2019
By Judith Riddle
Today's Dietitian
Vol. 20, No. 12, P. 4

In this fast-paced digital age, in which the average human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, it's imperative that dietitians develop strategic communications plans spanning a variety of platforms that include social media and other online communication tools if they want to successfully build their professional brands and businesses and enhance their nutrition messages.

Personal branding involves creating a professional name and reputation for yourself and/or your business and marketing yourself and your business as a brand. It takes ingenuity and creativity, as well as time and patience, but RDs who accomplish this have greater credibility, recognition, and prestige, and higher perceived value—all of which can lead to many career opportunities, upward mobility, fulfilling partnerships, and better salaries, said Stacey Cohen, MBA, CEO of CoCommunications, at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ in October in Washington, D.C.

In her presentation "Power Up! Using Strategic Communications to Enhance Your Message, Presence, and Profession," Cohen said there are certain things all dietitians should do to develop their personal brand. They include defining your brand, understanding your target audience, and knowing your competition and value; setting up an online profile/bio, posting videos and/or bylined articles, testimonials, e-books, and white papers; selecting the right social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, where your audiences predominantly interact; and creating great content through your website and blog, e-newsletters, media relations, speaking engagements, and podcasts.

All of this sounds daunting, especially if you're unfamiliar with social media and launching a website, but take heart: You don't have to incorporate all of these strategies to build your brand—only those best suited to what you want to accomplish. The year 2019 is just weeks away, so there's no better time than to make building your brand one of your professional goals. To download Cohen's presentation, visit and click on "Handout."

Today's Dietitian is kicking off the new year with the feature article "Top 10 Skills to Build in 2019," which discusses the most important professional goals RDs should set for themselves to achieve greater success. Also read the other articles on iodine, vegan yogurts, individualized diets for older adults, and supermarket meal kits. Please enjoy the issue!

Judith Riddle